It is common to create expectations of how others should act, and most people do it constantly. Everyone has bad days, failures and mood swings that make life harder. We should not expect significant others or friends to be at their best all the time. Human beings are flawed. We must understand this and expect flaws to manifest themselves in everyone.

Lowering expectations also makes it easier to forgive, to allow people to make mistakes and not be angry or disappointed. We would do well to lower expectations of those we care about, and let them be human. Having spent a lifetime expecting others to act in a certain way, I don’t always succeed in lowering expectations of others. This kind of growth is an ongoing process that never reaches perfection.

We also have to deal with the expectations others, especially those close to us, have of us. We need to find out what they are, discuss them and resolve whether we can meet them or whether they need to be changed. Compromise may be required to sustain the relationship.

We need to lower expectations of ourselves too. Strive for perfection, but don’t expect it. Everyone fails, and not everything is going to be easy or easily completed. I have learned to lower expectations of myself, but this requires constant vigilance. I am not perfect, and after a lifetime of having expectations of myself, like my expectations of others, it is difficult to change. I must constantly remind myself that I will not always succeed and cut myself some slack. But even partial success in lowering my expectations of others and myself has led me to a healthier life without all of the stress and demands that I used to place on myself. I, like others, will sometimes be mean, incompetent and inconsiderate.

It probably is impossible to not have some expectations. However, the fewer expectations we have and the lower they are, the happier we will be.

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